100 Percent Perfect
perfection the best characteristic for a brand?
Until recently, many might have said yes. Martha
Stewart fans certainly would have agreed. Year
after year, the ever-perfect Martha concocted
one perfect piece of decorating advice after another.
Her brand-building was perfect ... but repetition
of such reliable perfection made the occasional
mistake glaringly obvious.
ultimate brand is like a real person. The more
human the components associated with a brand,
the stronger it is. The most successful brands
will often exhibit human qualities. Instances
of brands that offer extraordinarily good service
usually coincide with those brands that have a
of us have emailed or phoned questions and/or
complaints about brands. When replies have a human
voice, they've generally addressed our concerns.
Such replies typically exhibit the writer's authority
and credibility ... the authority to write as
a credible individual.
customers, we demand brands deliver on expectations.
It's a minimum standard to expect a brand to reply
to inquiries within 24 hours. That's probably
about as far as we allow our expectations to go.
So minimal are expectations now, a response that
deviates from a standard automatic reply and provides
just a glimpse of a person behind it adds equity
to the brand.
human touch has enormous value. A brand that exhibits
that quality it is likely to become a favourite.
achieve this, a brand must develop human behaviour.
And human behaviour is rarely perfect. To err
is human. Slips, quirks and idiosyncratic behaviours
define our unique personalities. Brands should
attempt to do the same.
get me wrong. I'm not talking about messing up
your account status or filling email messages
and letters with spelling errors. Make a brand's
behaviour real. Consistency is a valuable trait.
But mechanical perfection and artificial sameness
huge banking corporations. Edifices in steel and
glass line our main streets, plastered with huge
corporate logos and filled with people uniformly
dressed. How uninspiring.
don't need sterile predictability to maintain
a professional image. Adherence to conformity
can reflect senior level insecurity.
if Martha had a cake flop ... if a painting hanging
on her wall wasn't straight ... what if she admitted
to a terrible hangover. Chinks in the image would
reinforce it, not weaken it. They would inspire
empathy with her.
in the armour only appear to be faults to the
wearer. From a distance, a consumer sees reinforcement.
A few chinks in Martha's brand could have armed
her against the day a real mistake happened.
a perfect image to the world and the world expects
perfection. Such expectations may not work to
your benefit. Before re-designing your website,
TV campaign, shop decoration, or whatever generates
traffic and revenue, consider the level of perfection
you want to maintain. Maybe perfection is not
all it's cracked up to be.